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Mele, Pels, and Polese: A Brief Review of Systems Theories and Their Managerial Aapplications

Service Science 2(1/2), pp. 126 - 135, 2010 SSG

A Brief Review of Systems Theories and Their Managerial

Cristina Mele
Federico II University of Napoli - Dept. of Business Economics
Via Cinthia, Complesso Monte S.Angelo, 80100 - Napoli, Italy

Jacqueline Pels
University Torcuato di Tella - Dept. of Marketing
Miones 2177 - Buenos Aires, Argentina

Francesco Polese
University of Cassino Dept. of Enterprise, Environment and Management
Via SantAngelo, Localit Folcara 03043 - Cassino, Italy
History: Received Oct. 21, 2009; Received in revised form Dec. 30, 2009; Accepted Feb. 15, 2010; Online
first publication Apr. 10, 2010

Since Aristotles claim that knowledge is derived from the understanding of the whole and not that of the single
parts (Aristotles Holism), researchers have been struggling with systems and parts in terms of their contents and
their relative dynamics. This historic effort evolved during the last century into so-called systems theory
(Bogdanov, 1922, 1980; von Bertalanffy, 1968, Lazlo, 1996; Meadows, 2008).
Systems theory is an interdisciplinary theory about every system in nature, in society and in many scientific
domains as well as a framework with which we can investigate phenomena from a holistic approach (Capra, 1997).
Systems thinking comes from the shift in attention from the part to the whole (Checkland, 1997; Weinberg, 2001;
Jackson, 2003), considering the observed reality as an integrated and interacting unicuum of phenomena where the
individual properties of the single parts become indistinct. In contrast, the relationships between the parts themselves
and the events they produce through their interaction become much more important, with the result that system
elements are rationally connected (Luhmann, 1990) towards a shared purpose (Golinelli, 2009). The systemic
perspective argues that we are not able to fully comprehend a phenomenon simply by breaking it up into elementary
parts and then reforming it; we instead need to apply a global vision to underline its functioning. Although we can
start from the analysis of the elementary components of a phenomenon, in order to fully comprehend the
phenomenon in its entirety we have to observe it also from a higher level: a holistic perspective (von Bertalanffy,
Systems theory encompasses a wide field of research with different conceptualizations and areas of focus (e.g.
Boulding, 1956; Maturana and Varela, 1975; Senge, 1990). Specifically, within management and marketing, a
number of authors and scholars have adopted implicitly or explicitly a vision of organizations as systems with
the aim of analyzing the relationship between organizations and their environment (e.g. Burns and Stalker, 1961;
Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967; Aldrich, 1979).
The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of systems theories. In particular, focus is given to those that
make a specific reference to management. We shall focus on:
a) A brief review on multidisciplinary systems theories,
b) The introduction of basic systems concepts,
c) The managerial applications of systems thinking.

Mele, Pels, and Polese: A Brief Review of Systems Theories and Their Managerial Aapplications
Service Science 2(1/2), pp. 126 - 135, 2010 SSG

This commentary closes the special issue of the Journal of Service Science. The hope is to raise questions,
observations and dilemmas in order to foster dialogue about the opportunities and limitations of applying systems
theory in management studies and practices.

1. Systems. A Multidisciplinary Point of View

A system can be defined as an entity, which is a coherent whole (Ng, Maull and Yip, 2009) such that a boundary is
perceived around it in order to distinguish internal and external elements and to identify input and output relating to
and emerging from the entity. A systems theory is hence a theoretical perspective that analyzes a phenomenon seen
as a whole and not as simply the sum of elementary parts. The focus is on the interactions and on the relationships
between parts in order to understand an entitys organization, functioning and outcomes. This perspective implies a
dialogue between holism and reductionism.
Systems can be found in nature, in science, in society, in an economic context, and within information systems.
A distinctive characteristic of systems theories is that it developed simultaneously across various disciplines and that
scholars working from a systems theory perspective build on the knowledge and concepts developed within other
disciplines. Examples include natural and ecological sciences (organic aspects, homeostasis and equifinality;
Hannan and Freeman, 1977), chemical and biological disciplines (autopoietic aspects; Maturana and Varela, 1975),
sociology and psychology (cognitive aspects; Clark, 1993), and information technology (cybernetic aspects; Beer,
As a result, today we have several kinds of systems perspectives. There are service systems (from Service
Science, Management, Engineering and Design - SSMED), viable systems (from Viable Systems Approach - VSA),
smart systems (from systems thinking), reticular systems (from network theories), living systems (from natural
sciences), economic systems (from economics), social systems (from sociology), institutional systems (from law),
technological systems (from cybernetics), conceptual systems (from psychology), and ecosystems (from ecology).
This plurality yielded a rich research stream with interdisciplinary contributions. It is possible to outline an evolution
pattern for these theories, with newer theories that tried to overcome the limits of the previous ones. However, we
should consider that, currently, different theories co-exist. Researchers applying systems theories should be aware
that some of these theories may have conflicting elements and should be seen as alternative perspectives. Moreover,
on adopting a specific systems approach every researcher should be aware of its epistemological position. Next we
review the key systems approaches.
General Systems Theory (GST)
Von Bertalaffy (1956) defines a system as a complex of interacting elements. Von Bertalanffy fosters systems
thinking in all disciplines in order to find general principles valid to all systems. It introduces system as a new
scientific paradigm contrasting the analytical, mechanical paradigm, characterizing classical science (von
Bertalanffy, 1950).
A fundamental notion of general systems theory is its focus on interactions. The center in relationships lead to
sustain that the behavior of a single autonomous element is different from its behavior when the element interacts
with other elements. Another core tenet is the distinction between open, closed and isolated systems. In open
systems there are exchanges of energy, matter, people, and information with the external environment. In closed
systems there are no exchanges of information and matter, just exchanges of energy. In isolated system there is no
exchange of elements. Building on general systems theory many approaches developed. Among others there are
open system theory, viable system model and viable system approach. Open system theory (OST) looks at the
relationships between the organizations and the environment in which they are involved. This focus reflects on
organizations ability to adapt to changes in environmental conditions (with or without the need for information
processing) (Boulding, 1956; Katz and Kahn, 1978). This theory assumes that entities able of processing
information about own specific environment show more adaptation skills to shifts in contextual conditions. Two
orders of adaptive levels are identified, both referring to the informative deviation: i) counteraction first level (to
process information from an organisms environment), related to the ability of steering through a personal purposive
behavior (Ashby, 1958); ii) amplification second level, related to constructivism theory (as opposed to realism)
leading to work on self-organization (von Foerster, 1981). Katz and Kahn (1978) apply the concept of open system
to the organization. The organization is seen as a system built by energetic input-output where the energy coming
from the output reactivates the system. Emery and Trist (1960) address organizations as socio-technical systems,
underlining the two main components of the firm seen as a system: a social component (people), and a technical
component (technology and machines). Viable System Model (VSM), on the other hand, outlines a system as an

Mele, Pels, and Polese: A Brief Review of Systems Theories and Their Managerial Aapplications
Service Science 2(1/2), pp. 126 - 135, 2010 SSG

entity that is adaptable for the purpose of surviving in its changing environment (Beer, 1972). The viable system is
an abstracted cybernetic description that is applicable to autonomous organizations. Since cybernetics represents an
interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems, it refers to the study of how actions by a system cause
changes in the environment that are understood by the system itself in terms of feedback, allowing the adaptation of
the system to new conditions. In other words, the system can change its behavior. In cybernetics, the system and the
environment present different levels of complexity, as the environment has degrees of complexity that are not
perceptible to the system (Golinelli et al, 2002; Barile, 2005). When applied to organizations viable system model
focuses on conceptual tools for understanding the organization of systems in order to redesign them through: i)
change management; ii) understanding the organization as an integrated whole; iii) evaluating the essential functions
of implementation, coordination, control, intelligence and policy (Beer, 1972; Espejo and Harnden, 1989; Espejo,
1999; Christopher, 2007). Finally Viable system approach (VSA) suggests a new interpretation of consolidated
strategic organizational and managerial models: sub-systems and supra-systems. Sub-systems focuses on the
analysis of relationships among enterprises internal components while supra-systems focus on the connections
between enterprises and other influencing systemic entities in their context (Golinelli, 2000; Golinelli, 2005; Barile,
2006; Barile, 2008).
The work by Beer (1972) gave a strong impulse to systems theory. The viable systems model outlines a system as
an entity that is adaptable for the purpose of surviving in its changing environment. The viable system is an
abstracted cybernetic description that is applicable to autonomous organizations. Since cybernetics represents an
interdisciplinary study of the structure of regulatory systems, it refers to the study of how actions by a system cause
changes in the environment that are understood by the system itself in terms of feedback, allowing the adaptation of
the system to new conditions. In other words, the system can change its behavior. In cybernetics, the system and the
environment present different levels of complexity, as the environment has degrees of complexity that are not
perceptible to the system (Golinelli et al., 2002; Golinelli, 2008; Barile, 2006).
Katz and Kahn (1966) apply the concept of open system to the organization. The organization is seen as a system
built by energetic input-output where the energy coming from the output reactivates the system. Social organizations
are then open systems due to their material exchanges with the environment. Emery and Trist (1960) instead address
organizations as socio-technical systems, underlining the two main components of the firm seen as a system: a social
component (people), and a technical component (technology and machines).
Biology and Sociology
In the 1970s, an important contribution to systems theory came from a different set of new principles, i.e., autolearning, auto-organization, and autopoiesis (Maturana and Varela, 1975). From this perspective, the system
assumes an identity through differences between itself and the environment. It is able not only to organize the
relationships between its parts but also to generate its own reproduction. The term autopoiesis explains the nature of
living systems and shows the process of a system that produces itself from itself. An autopoietic system is closed
with reference to its organization, but it is not isolated, as it exchanges energy with the environment. It does not
adapt itself to its environment, but the system and its environment co-evolve and co-determine themselves in a
structural coupling (Beer, 1972). The concept of autopoiesis has also been applied to sociology (Luhmann, 1990),
where a system is defined by a boundary between itself and its environment, dividing it from an infinitely complex
exterior (Morin, 2001). The internal side of this system is represented by a zone of reduced complexity;
communication within a system operates by selecting only a limited amount of all information available from the
outside. This process is also called reduction of complexity and enables the concept of an auto-referential system,
which encompasses studies about self-regulation, self-organization and autopoiesis. The auto-referential system
tries to manage the complexity, and the opposition between open and closed systems is overcome. In this view, the
systems closeness refers to the systems organization, to its identity and to the auto-referential as a mechanism of
reproduction; on the other hand, the systems openness is linked to the systems capability to draw energy from the
environment, expanding the concept of complexity and of the systems interpretation and solving. Similarly, the
auto-learning principle focuses on systems retroactive effects, where the output becomes the input, thus producing
forms of learning. Self-regulating systems are capable of learning. In this case the system performs a reflective
knowledge function, interpreting the environment based on its own knowledge. Auto-organizing systems finalize
their energies to organize themselves; they reduce internal entropy to increase external entropy (von Foerster, 1981).


Mele, Pels, and Polese: A Brief Review of Systems Theories and Their Managerial Aapplications
Service Science 2(1/2), pp. 126 - 135, 2010 SSG

System Dynamics and Smart Systems

On the basis of the principles of self-regulation and self-organization, Stermanns studies (1994; 2000) focus on how
people learn in and about complex dynamic systems, stressing learning as a feedback process.
Learning is a feedback process in which our decisions alter the real world, and receive information
feedback about the work and revise the decisions we make and mental models that motivate those
decisions, Unfortunately in the world of social action various impediments slow or prevent these learning
feedbacks from functioning, allowing erroneous and harmful behaviors and beliefs to persist. The barriers
to learning include the dynamic complexity of the systems themselves (Stermann, 1994, p.291).
The concept of learning is central to smart systems, which may be intended to be entities designed for the wise
and interactive management of assets and goals, capable of self-reconfiguration (or at least of easily induced reconfiguration) in order to perform enduring behavior capable of satisfying all of the involved participants in time.
The smart characteristics of systems affect both stages, as the front stage is the input ground that the systems need
to monitor in order to detect key elements for self-adjustment and reconfiguration, whereas the back stage ought to
be based upon models and tools capable of enabling operational changes and time efficiency. Systems are smart
because they react through technology and seek the wise and intelligent use of involved resources; according to
VSA proposals, smart systems search for reactive, dynamic and intelligent IT-based service systems may well be
considered a viable behavior capable of promoting long-lasting competitiveness and performance of the system
itself (Barile, Polese, 2010b). A systems being smart is a fundamental concept of organism adaptation that includes
the use of self-increasing knowledge (Rullani, 2009), trying to hear ones own contextual pattern, and
continuously learning and gaining experiences from external events.

2. Some Systems Basic Concepts

A system can be defined as an assemblage of objects united by some form of regular interaction or interdependence.
A system can be natural (e.g., lake) or built (e.g., government), physical (e.g., space shuttle) or conceptual
(e.g., plan), closed (e.g., chemicals in a stationary, closed bottle) or open (e.g., tree), static (e.g., bridge) or
dynamic (e.g., human). In regard to its elements, a system can be detailed in terms of its components,
composed of people, processes and products; its attributes, composed of the input, process and output
characteristics of each component; and its relationships, composed of interactions between components and
characteristics (Tien and Berg, 2003, pp.23-24).
The fundamental unit of analysis is a system made up of many parts or structures (Parsons, 1965). From a
systemic perspective, every system, at a certain level, is in relation with supra-systems and sub-systems. The former
are hierarchically ordered as a function of their influence on the system; the latter ought to be directed and managed
by the system in order to contribute to its finality (Barile, 2006, 2008). The introduction of these concepts challenges
the question of system boundaries which, from this perspective, make little sense. As contact creates participation; a
given system tends to absorb supra-systems and sub-systems (components) in order to develop as a whole system
(Barile 2006, 2008).
The smallest system is a single unicellular organism; the largest one is represented by the universe. As
discussed before, it is possible to consider a system to be open if it is able to exchange energy, matter and
information with the environment. These exchanges lead to internal processes of transformation of elements such as
homeostasis, self-regulation, equilibrium/balance, autopoiesis, equifinality/common finality:

Homeostasis is based on information exchanges between the system and the external environment, and it
allows the system to maintain a state of equilibrium over time (Hannan and Freeman, 1977);
Self-Regulation is an adaptive mechanism that allows the system to keep itself under a balanced condition,
within the limits of its structure and through information exchange with the outside world (Beer, 1975);
Equilibrium/Balance represents the attitude and ability to provide an appropriate contribution to the needs
of some or all supra-systems within the framework of reference systems (Beer, 1975);
Autopoiesis is a self-organizing feature of systems that stimulate a selective mechanism to align the
systems internal complexity with the complex environment (Maturana and Varela, 1975);
Equifinality is the principle that refers to open systems reaching the same end state, starting from conditions
and/or taking different paths (Katz and Kahn, 1978);

Mele, Pels, and Polese: A Brief Review of Systems Theories and Their Managerial Aapplications
Service Science 2(1/2), pp. 126 - 135, 2010 SSG

Common finality is necessary for a systems survival and considers organizations as a set of parts
interacting with each other, organized and managed to reach the same final goal (von Bertalanffy, 1962).

Within systems thinking, it is important to note the observer/observed relationship, highlighting how important
the specific viewpoint is in interpreting organizational behavior. Behavioral aspects underline the importance of
individuals in the performance of businesses (Polese, 2010), suggesting the need to look at social relationship
dynamics, individual lifestyles, individual motivations, and individual conditions (Gatti, Biferali and Volpe, 2009).
In short, the concept of a system is not connected with the notion of objectivity, but instead refers to a specific point
of view and can vary from actor to actor; it strictly depends on the contextualized systems perception in time and

3. Systems Theory Applications in Management

In this section we provide some examples about how systems theory and systems thinking can be applied in
management and marketing as well as to the concept of service systems engineering. We focus specifically on
knowledge, value, quality, environment, relationships, adaptation, and complexity.
Under this vision, the firm is seen as a learning system and as having a set of skills and competences that enables it
to produce its own knowledge. (Nonaka and Tacheucki, 1995) The firm is then a cognitive system establishing its
existence, creating information and activating skills in order to produce knowledge through continuous leaning
processes (Vicari, 1992). Knowledge is at the core of an autopoietic process of resource generation, creating
resource-behavior-resource cycles where cognitive schemes allow the entire system to function. Senge (1990)
analyzes how the systems method of thinking enables firms to become learning organizations. He looks at systems
thinking, personal mastery, mental models, building shared vision, and team learning as the basis for the
development of three core learning capabilities: fostering aspiration, developing reflective conversation, and
understanding complexity to address value generation.
From this approach the firm is seen as a holistic system, characterized by a high degree of integration between the
factors intervening in the process of value creation (Grant, Shani and Krishnan, 1994). The firms value can be
expressed as the potentiality of existence, development, evolution (Vicari, 1992). Business value creation is
related both to the sub-system (through quality management, R&D activities, internal auditing, feedback daily
research, etc.) and to the supra-system (through cooperation logics and asset improvement in terms of technical,
cognitive, relational and adaptive aspects) (Mele and Polese, 2010). For example, the systemic perspective allows
one to move from the single firm to the entire supply chain (Mele, 2003) or network (Polese, 2004), involving many
system actors (firms, individuals, districts, nations, customers, markets; Alter, 2008).
When discussing quality issues, it is necessary to focus on the link between TQM and systems thinking (Kim, 1990;
Senge and Sterman, 1990; Kim and Burchill, 1992). In TQM, the systemic conception of the firm is strengthened by
its emphasis on the importance of the relationships of the parts to the goal to be reached (Mele and Colurcio, 2006).
TQM is a learning system: Through TQM every size of unit, from individual to team to company to region
and nation, can learn how to learn. TQM can be thought of a system for learning new skill for the benefit of
society .TQM as a system for developing individual, team, company and national skill (Shiba, Graham
and Walden, 1993, p. 534).
If the organization is the system at the micro level, then the environment is the system at the macro level. In the
systems approach, the decision maker, by analyzing the structure of his own system and the structure of suprasystems, employs attenuating and amplifying actions of the kind needed for survival, thus modifying the borders
between the system and the individual supra-systems (viability). Brownlie (1994) highlights two conceptualizations
of the environment: the objective environment and the enacted environment. In the first case, the construct
environment corresponds to some freestanding material entity that is independent of the observer, concrete,
external and tangible (p.144). On the other hand, scholars adopting the second approach reject the notion of an

Mele, Pels, and Polese: A Brief Review of Systems Theories and Their Managerial Aapplications
Service Science 2(1/2), pp. 126 - 135, 2010 SSG

external objective reality; the environment is thought of as a mental representation embodied in a cognitive
structure which is enacted in retrospect and fashioned out of the discrete experiences of managers (italics in
original) (p.147). From this approach, organizations and environment are seen as labels for patterns of activities that
are generated by human actions and their accompanying efforts to make sense out of these actions (Smircich and
Stubbart, 1985). For scholars adopting this view, it is possible that different organizations within the same
environment will read different things into the same set of data about particular market conditions and
circumstances. Within this second stream of literature, it is argued that the organization is embedded in a set of interorganizational relationships (some stronger than others) with a set of stakeholders (Pfeffer and Salancik, 1978). In
marketing, this view is adopted by the networks approach, which argues that companies are connected and that
they operate within a texture of interdependencies (Hakansson and Snehota, 1995; Ford, 2002).
According to the viable system model (Christopher, 2007), competitive firm behavior is strictly linked to the ability
to identify and manage functions and relationships, thereby establishing communication channels, organizing
information flow, and rationalizing and harmonizing a firms development aligned with all external relationships.
The governance of the viable organizations then has to address and direct the system towards a final goal by
transforming static structural relationships into dynamic interactions with other viable systems. The ability to
organize relationships delineates the efficiency of governmental action, which is a central characteristic of viable
systems, contributing to the equilibrium of the system from one side and to the satisfaction of supra-systems
expectations from the other. For the organizations, it is fundamental to consider the compatibility between systemic
actors (consonance) and to improve the effective harmonic interaction between them (resonance). Consonance is
linked to the concept of relations; it refers to a static vision and represents the potential harmonic relation.
Resonance instead is related to dynamic aspect, the interacting between entities.
According to the viable systems approach (Barile and Polese, 2010a), any organization has to be able to preserve its
viability and stability, creating its own internal environment that is able to respond effectively to external stimuli at
all levels (viability). Organizations are considered viable systems if they are able to survive in a particular context
due to continual dynamic processes and several kinds of internal changes (adaptation).
Networked systems can be described based on three parameters: variety (possible variance that a phenomenon may
present to the observer), variability (variety observed over time) and indeterminacy (the ability to fully understand a
phenomenon) (Barile, 2009; Golinelli, 2010). Starting from these distinctions, it is possible to address the relative
concept of complexity, which can be very useful in interpreting Service systems, since these are complex adaptive
systems (Gell-Mann, 1994; Holland, 1999). They are complex in that they are diverse and made up of multiple
interconnected network elements and adaptive in that they have the capacity to change and learn from experience.

4. Conclusions
This brief commentary was aimed at highlighting some elements of systems theories and their application in
management and in marketing. Managers should become familiar with the concept of systems and the associated
way of thinking. Managers have to plan structural adjustments to guarantee the survival of the whole system,
constantly formulating new interpretations of the business scenarios in order to find an adequate positioning,
implementing (when necessary) periods of adjustment, transformation and redefinition the organizational structure.
This adaptive and proactive behavior should be based upon systems theory conceptual pillars in order to promote
sustainable and long-lasting performance. Given real-world complexity, we strongly believe that systems theories
and perspectives can effectively contribute to management, marketing and service research due to their dual
approach: the global, holistic view of observed phenomena and the specific, reductionist view of their specific
components and traits.
A good example of the suggested integration is found in service science. Service science aims to develop a
theory of service based on systems. It is an integrative discipline of engineering, technology, management and other
social sciences. Specifically, service science is the study of the creation of value within and among service systems,
which are complex adaptive systems.


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Cristina Mele is researcher and assistant professor of International

Management and Quality Management at the Department of Business
Economics, University of Naples Federico II, Italy, where she is also a
member of the board of PhD studies in Business Science. Since 2009 she also
serves on the Evaluation Committee for the Second University of Naples.
Cristina obtained her PhD in Management and Economics in 2000. Her main
areas of interest are marketing, quality, and innovation and her most recent
studies are about service innovation and value co-creation in a network
perspective. She has been a reviewer for Italian as well as international journals
and has published over seventy articles in Italian and international journals,
including the International Journal of Quality and Service Science, Journal of
Retailing and Consumer Services, International Journal of Quality and
Reliability Management, Managing Service Quality and the Journal of Customer Behaviour. Her papers
presented at the Academy of Marketing Service Conferences, London, won a Best Paper Award in 2007. He
was one of the co-chairs (with Evert Gummesson and Francesco Polese) of The 2009 Naples Forum on
Service: Service-Dominant Logic, Service Science and Network Theory, She can be contacted at:

Jaqueline Pels is a Marketing Professor in the Business School of the

University Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her research
experience is in the areas of business-to-business marketing, relationship
marketing, professional services and marketing theory. She has been chair of
the Relationship Marketing Summit 2007 and of the AMA International
Marketing Educators Conference 2000. Her publications have appeared in
leading international journals including European Journal of Marketing,
Journal of Business and Industrial Markets, Journal of Relationship
Marketing, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, and Journal of Global
Marketing amongst others. She is Latin America editor for Marketing Theory,
Journal of Business and Industrial Markets and for the Academy of Marketing
Science-Review and has served on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of
Marketing, Journal of International Marketing, Journal of Relationship
Marketing, and Journal of Business in Developing Nations, amongst others.


Mele, Pels, and Polese: A Brief Review of Systems Theories and Their Managerial Aapplications
Service Science 2(1/2), pp. 126 - 135, 2010 SSG

Francesco Polese is Associate Professor of Business Management at Cassino

University, Italy. Originally an electrotechnical engineer and after more than
ten years as a consultant he is now pursuing his academic interests by
participating in the international debate and conferences, trying to bridge the
gap between practice and theories in management, promoting service research,
sustainable tourism, viable networks, and the impact of social relations on
business performance. His research interests cover the management of
networks and relationships, service, service science, tourism, and R&D
management. Within most recent articles (2009) are B2B is not an island
(with Evert Gummesson) in the Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing
and Linking the viable system and many-to-many network approaches to
service-dominant logic and service science (with Sergio Barile) in
International Journal of Quality and Service Science. He is Director of
MADILab (University Lab for Innovation Management and Diffusion). He was
one of the co-chairs (with Evert Gummesson and Cristina Mele) of The 2009
Naples Forum on Service: Service-Dominant Logic, Service Science and Network Theory, see and consequentially he was guest editor of the special issues the International
Journal of Quality and Service Science, Vol.2, N.1 and the Journal of Service Science, Vol.2, N.1/2, that have
collected some of the most interesting papers discussed within the Naples Forum. [email: ].